Last month, Women of the ELCA sent letters to 8,000+ women and men, inviting them to give to the 25th Anniversary Appeal. If your mailbox is like mine, that was neither the first nor last letter asking you for money. It’s that time of year.
For church-goers, the Sabbath day brings no rest from money talk. November is when many congregations promote pledging and feature stewardship talks during the service, with members explaining why they give and why they’ll pledge for the coming year. I find these talks helpful, especially when they include the practical side of giving. For instance, a man at my congregation explained, “I write out my offering check every month as soon as my paycheck arrives.” He didn’t say how much he gives. But by telling me how he gives, he invited me to reconsider my own giving method.
These stewardship talks usually focus on giving to a specific cause – namely, the congregation! Fundraising mail is another thing altogether, calling attention to all manner of important opportunities, like the food pantry downtown, a national advocacy group against homelessness, my college alma mater; and, of course, the 25th Anniversary Appeal, supporting Women of the ELCA and the ELCA Malaria Campaign.
The asks are many and the opportunities are great. I could benefit from some stewardship talks about this topic – how do you respond to the year-end requests that come in the mail? I mean practically, how do you do it? Do you set the envelopes aside until December 31? Do you give to the first ones that arrive? Do you even read the letters? Are there organizations you give to every year?
From one woman to another, united in mission and purpose, how do you handle year-end giving? Thanks for sharing.
Emma Crossen is director for stewardship and development.